Dr. Hendricks

Dr. LaVelle Hendricks   Dr. LaVelle Hendricks has been involved in higher education and counselor education for many years. He brings a wealth of information and knowledge in the areas of drug, alcohol, and other addictions to the classroom.   Dr. Hendricks is a sought out presenter/speaker by many local, state, national, and international organizations. He has written multiple articles in the area of addiction. Dr. Hendricks has created many classes which allow students to travel abroad to Mexico, Costa Rica, and India. Domestically, under Dr. Hendricks’ teaching, students travel to cultural enrichment learning experiences in Birmingham, New York, and other places.

   Let’s welcome Dr. LaVelle Hendricks.

   I'm delighted to be here. I want to, first of all, thank both Doug and Dr. LaVerne Raine. Dr. Raine and her husband are two individuals that model Christianity. You've seen it in their lives, each and every day. I know that Douglas has such a passion for evangelism and preaching the gospel. And I just thank God that I have the privilege enough to call the two of them friends for life. So, thank you guys so much for being here.

   I met a guy one time named Oliver North who testified before Congress, and he said, "I'll tell you the good, I'll tell you the bad, I tell you the ugly," and that's what my life is all about. The Bible says, “I'm not ashamed of the gospel. That is the power of God unto salvation.”

   I grew up in Louisiana in a drug-infested neighborhood. When I grew up, it was not uncommon to see the police and my neighborhood every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, over, and over, and over again. When I was a small child, I saw a lot of violence. And I asked the Lord, "If you ever give me a chance to get out of all of this, I'll go and serve you for the rest of my life."

   I used to read the Bible, and I would mimic what I saw in the Bible. There's a scripture passage that talks about how when Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane and how he went there, and he prayed, and the scripture said there were these little droplets of blood coming from Jesus because he was praying so intensely.

   When I was a little small child, I grew up with my mom, my brothers and my sisters, but my mom's brother and his wife never had kids. So, they would take me over there and leave me with them. I’m talking about five or six years of age and I didn't like it, because I'm thinking, I'm dealing with these older folks and I want to be around my brothers and my sisters, but she’d always come back and get me later on. And then one Saturday, she left me there, and she said, "You're going to stay here," and I thought this was not gonna work out well for me.

   So, I vividly remembered, they put in the bedroom, and when my aunt and my uncle went to sleep, I recall how I got out of my bed and went to the front door. At the time, they used to have latches on the doors that locked, and I kept jumping, and I could not get the latch opened. So, I told God, "If you’re here, I'm going to be okay tonight, and I will stay here tonight, Lord, but I got to get back to my brothers and my sisters." For the next eighteen years, I was there.

   God never allowed me to leave. My uncle was my role model. He only had a second-grade education, but my uncle told me the importance of Christianity. My aunt was an English Language/Arts teacher, and she taught for fifty-four years in a segregated school system that they had in Louisiana.

   I remember I had to go to church on Sunday mornings for Sunday school, and then we'd have worship hour that morning. Then we had some folk, BTU Baptist Training Union, and go back at five o'clock, and then we had six o'clock, another full service, but they only bought me one suit. Every time I get out of the church, I had to "air out my suit."

   I had to take off my jacket, trousers, shirt, and everything, and my uncle ran the whole method, Old Testament 18. Then once you got into church on Sunday, you just had to wait there until it was time to go back to church. There was no watching the television. You just had to be prepared. And I keep saying to myself, "Lord, if you're this hard, man, I don't want anything to do with you."

   I mean, it seemed as though there should not be anything wrong with watching a little television on the Sunday after I got out of the church, but he was that strict, and to this day, I'm thankful to God that he was the way that he was. I took a good look at the arrogant way with drugs and alcohol. I can't tell you the countless number of people I saw get arrested.

   I saw a good friend who had her throat slashed. I had a friend of mine who was shot in the eye and killed, and I saw all this stuff as I was growing up and I remember my pastor. I loved my pastor, Pastor H. E. Wilton. He would always talk about this evangelism stuff, and he’d always say, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. Thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thine heart, thou shalt be saved.”

   He’d always say, “The book of first John, these things have written so that you may know, let you know that you’re saved. That God demonstrates his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” I used to hear that.

   At the age of eleven, something got a hold of me. I don't know what it was. I couldn't sleep at night. I didn't know who to talk to, and so then I told God, “Tell you what; I'll be an usher in the church.” So, I volunteered to become an usher in the church. God's given me new life. So I said, "Hey, Lord, what I'll do now is I’ll start singing in the choir.” God still gave me a new life. And, in Louisiana, in this swamp garden, I said, “Okay, God. I'm going to go after you, and if you are who you say you really are, you would have to deal with me.” So, I'm out here at this creek at the end of the swamp garden and all of a sudden, I said, "Jesus, and honestly, I choose you. So, please drop your water."

   And I ran because I was afraid. Because I was telling God, “If you are real, you’d do these things,” and he started doing it. It would not let me sleep at night. And remember I told you when Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, I went outside. There was a huge pile of stuff, I got down on my knees, and I started praying to God, and I said, "I don't know what you are doing, I really want you to know who do you want, but Lord, if you want me to do something, you gotta speak to me." The next time I went to church, I'll never forget, I was twelve years of age, and the Pastor preached the message about all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

   To this day, I cannot tell you how I moved from that third pew on the right-hand side down to the front, and I sat there in that chair, and my pastor was the type that said, I want to make sure that you are saved. I want to make sure that you understand what you're getting into. I was twelve years of age, I surrendered my life to Christ, and I started preaching and, you know, Louisiana with this little boy wonder because everybody was talking to that boy, twelve years of age, preaching. Because I remember the passage of the scripture when Jesus, Mary and Joseph went to the temple and all of a sudden they couldn't find him. He told them at twelve years of age. He said, "I must be about my father’s business.” And I preached that message.

   That first time I preached, I preached that when Jesus touches your life, you got to tell somebody, and I thought, “This is nice. This is wonderful.” Then that's when it began to happen. I told you I grew up in a drug-infested neighborhood. The love of my life, who was Marcia McGee, lived down south Louisiana [inaudible]. Marcia was beautiful. When I was at school, Marcia and her friend, Renee, were coming home from church, and I remember I told my cousin, Chad, “If you see Marcia, give her a kiss from me and tell her I'll be there to see her.”

A guy was driving a car at110 miles an hour and crashed into the car that Marcia and Renee were in. They got Marcia out of the car. They were air-flighted to the hospital, but Marcia died en route, and they tried to get Renee out of the car, but was pinned on her chest. The motor of the car was burning and Renee was killed.

   And I was telling God, "I'm doing all of this stuff for you and the person that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Now I have no one." I remember that word from the king that if you are tired of the super weight and got a vision from God, and I told him, “Why keep going?” I can tell you to this day, I was lying on my bed, at 6:17 a.m. on January 27, I saw this crystal clear lake, and I saw my body rise on this Crystal Lake. It started at 6:17, and I vividly remember, at 6:23 coming out of this world and I looked at the clock, and the Lord said, "You're mine; you're now going to do what I want you to do." They might say, "I'll tell you the good, I tell the bad, I tell you the ugly."

   I was telling my fraternity friends about this experience that I had with the Almighty, but they all made fun of me. “This holy moment, this Jesus stuff you talk about over here.” And I was struggling because I thought, “Surely there's somebody out there who understands what I'm saying?”I'm talking about Christ. I'm talking to my friends, everybody starts rejecting me. I told God, “Lord, what am I going to do now?”

   It took me to the story of Elijah. Where Elijah is on Mount Carmel, who's up there dealing with the Prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:20–39), and all of those folks for doing all that stuff, and finally, Elijah spoke and said, "You get some buckets of water, build a trench around it, put water in it.” The Bible says that the fire came down from on high and consumed them all.

   And I said, "Yes! I'm gonna be the next Elijah,” and then I read a few chapters later when the same man. All of a sudden, now hiding from somebody called Jezebel, and God spoke to my heart and said, "You fear no one. If I'll be for you, then who in the world could be against you?"

   I used to take Bible tracks then stand out in the middle of the streets, and I hand out the Bible tracks. Some folks will take them, wind it up, go right back in. Some will take them, drive down the street, I’d look at the car, and it’s flying out the window. The Lord specifically said to me, “Remember this son, they are not rejecting you. They are rejecting me.” It gave me great encouragement.

   All of a sudden, I got a call from a friend of mine in Louisiana who was working at Texas A&M Commerce and he said, “Would you have an interest in coming and working at A&M Commerce?” and I said, "Where is A&M Commerce?" So he says, “Northeast of Texas,” I said, “Okay.”

   So, my dad drove with me here. We got in the car, drove here, and we drove on campus, and there was a building called The Sam Rayburn and my dad said, “Sam Rayburn!”

   I don't know who Sam Rayburn was. I don't know anything about Texas history. Talk to me about Earl K. Long and Huey Long, and Antoinette. See, those are the folks that I knew from my history, and my dad said to me, he said, "Son, this is where the Lord wants you to be.”

   And I thought I saw a sign that said Commerce, Texas, 8,913 people. I had more than 8,000 people in my neighborhood, and I'm going to be in a town with 8,913 people where there’s a McDonalds and there is one Wal-Mart, there’s absolutely nothing to do in this town. But I said, "Okay, God, if that's what you want me to be. I will be here."

   On a Saturday, I heard the loud bouncing of basketball. And I thought, "Yeah, Life does exist in Commerce.” A guy named Jackie Reynolds from a town called, I say, Cooper, I think finally they said Cooper like C-U-P-R, apostrophe, or something the birth of county goes.

   Anyway, so I met Jackie. And Jackie did conspicuously said, "Okay, we all spell it one way or another." He said, "I want you to come over to a town called Cupr, Cooper, or whatever. So I said, "Okay." So I got my car and I drove down to the square. There are all these folks out there, and they got this big sign up there, and they were having a festival that they called Chigger Fest. When I first saw it, I don't know, I thought it meant something else. And so, I was like, “Man, I got to get out of this town.” So, I left. That’s okay.

   So, I came back and I’ll never forget, when I was here, and I didn't have friends, didn't know anybody here. It's so lonely by myself, in the late 90s or so forth. I told the president, "I resign my position. I'm going back to Louisiana." I'll never forget it was on a Wednesday.

   Saturday, I got a phone call saying, “Can you come to a town called Sulfur Springs?” and I thought, “Okay, we have a Commerce, we have a Cooper, and we have a Sulfur Springs, I knew nothing about these areas. I went over there, and a guy by the name of Dr. Marion Hugo, who was a large brain doctor, came to me, Ruso was there on that day in August, when he came I have plenty of space.

   He said, "I want you to work with me in a community sharing the gospel of Jesus," and I thought it's a trick. I already resigned from my position. I'm going back home. Sunday, I went to church with him. I go back to the office on Monday. And the person calls me, he says, "What is this?" I said, "I can't take it.” He said, “Will you just wait till the end of the semester?" I said, "Okay, I can wait till the end of the semester."

   Little did I know I was invited to a church called East End Baptist Church, and I went there, and there was a guy by the name of Deacon Aethel. Then they asked me, and they said, "We don't have a Pastor. Would you be interested in Pastoring this Church?" What the heck was going on now? I said, “I'll come there, and I'll preach for you.”

   That following Sunday, I preached the message entitled, “Jesus: The Man of Change” and there was a grand total of nine people in the church, nine people. I thought what are you doing here? Next Sunday, it was eighteen people at the church. Next Sunday after that, there was about thirty people at the church, the church started growing by a huge amount, and I had to repent to God.

   I know now my coming to work at Texas A&M Commerce had nothing to do with work at A&M Commerce. It has everything to do with what God knew and He planted me at a church on County Road 2310 in a town called Sulfur Springs, and that's where I ministered every Sunday morning, by the grace of God, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

   This place out here called A&M Commerce is a breeding ground for the pastor of Jesus Christ. Sharing with these young people that there is a better way to live, sharing with these young people that there is something called life after death.

   I teach my classes. I researched deals with drugs and alcohol that messes with the brain that messes with your body.

   I went to college because I knew that I wanted to "fix people," little did I know, I fixed myself because I saw how it had impacted me as an individual. I saw how other folks would get mad and beat up people. I could not understand how John on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday was perfectly fine, but John was going to get a check on Friday, and that’s when John started beating up his wife. And then John would go to jail that Friday night, and then his wife, Mary, would have to go there and bail him out on a Saturday evening. Then on Sunday, he's just sitting down in a La-Z-Boy and the cycle will repeat itself over again.

   I hated myself, and I told the Lord, “Create in me Lord, a renewed and right spirit.” Who am I to judge someone else? Because it's only by God's grace that I am where I am.

   I told you how I grew up and some people died. I saw people get hooked on drugs and alcohol. I saw all of that, but the Lord himself had me in his hand the whole time. So, when I tell you, I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

   I have a cross in my office that hangs on the wall, and that cross to me means something. It's an emblem of suffering and shame, but I am clinging to that old rugged cross till I die and laid my crown at his feet.

   I am grateful for the opportunity to share my testimony because I am who I am by the grace of God. I encourage you. Pray for us out there. Keep us lifted up because some of us out there who used to sing the song, and my son is going to church. He says, “We are soldiers in the army, marching into battle every day, but at the same time, make sure that when you pray and call my name to God.”

I’m LaVelle. If you can't remember LaVelle, just say Ms. Gladys for me because I need somebody to stand in the gap for me. I need God today and in every era of the preach for me. So that I can continue to be what God has called me to be? There's a famous poem that I often quote. The poem is by Robert Frost and it tells the story about a man who is thinking about something he had done before. Even though what he did wasn’t looked as being good or bad, it was indicated the decision he made had an outcome that caused a shift in his life. “The Road Not Taken” is a poem about how it is important to make a choice in life. It says,

“Two roads diverged into a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged into a yellow wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

   Do you remember that poem from Grade 7? The Road Not Taken By Robert Frost? I'm thankful for the road that God has put me on.

   I had nieces, and I read a book to them called Alice in Wonderland. There's a wonderful quote there that says, "Any road will get you there, if you don't know where you're going."

   The Bible says very clearly, "A man's heart will devise his ways, but it's the Lord who must direct the steps.” And each day, I tell the Lord, “Create my steps according to what your Word says.” And every day when I walk on that campus, I whisper a prayer that says very thankfully, “Lord you promised me, that insight and wonderful would grow before me and surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."

   That's what I believe. That's when I stand up. I stand on the word of God. You guys have been wonderful for allowing me just to share briefly what I asked.

   In the name of Jesus, we give you praise and we give you glory. You have been an awesome God; we call you such an awesome God. Father, I believe that on Carl Cries’ Cross, on what is described as a good friend, when the Savior of the world was there crying out, "Eli Eli lama Sabachthani. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” I thank the Father that when you turn your back on your son, he was facing sinners like me and so many others, that you said in your word that he was buried in the grave, but on that Sunday morning, he was raised from the dead.

   And in the clarity and all the powers given out to me both in heaven and in Earth, I believe, Father, that the same Holy Spirit, the same Holy Ghost Power, can convict hearts right now, can change lives. Father, I pray, Father, in the name of Jesus, that if someone is listening to this voice of mine, that they will come into a right fellowship and a right relationship with you. I extend this invitation, Father, right now because you opened the door over 2000 years ago.

   And because you opened the door, Father, no person is able to shut that door. Your word is so clear, Father, that you can reach down to the lowest valley and you can reach to the highest mountain, so far that if there's anyone who needs to know you and depart on their sin, right now, Father, in the name of Jesus, draw them by Your Spirit.

   Father, I also pray, right now, if there are those that have gotten weary, those who have gotten tired, your Word says, “Let us not get weary in doing the right thing, for we shall reap if we faint not.” I pray, Father, that you would draw them by Your Spirit, right now, in the mighty name of Jesus because everyone needs a place to call their church home. Father, I declare it. I've been clear, and I believe it by faith, that it's already done.

In the immaculate name of Jesus, we will pray. Amen.

Dr. Hendricks' Hearing His Voice Testimony

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